Chance to impart crucial message

I applaud the Ministry of Education's directive limiting the use of funds and fund raising for "non-standard" facilities at top schools ("Funding cuts for top independent schools in S'pore"; Monday).

I know of a school that not only has its own swimming pool and tennis courts, but also managed to raise funds in record time to build its own indoor tennis courts.

Indoor tennis courts are a rarity in Singapore, and only the top private clubs have them. When a local school can have them, you know that things have gone too far.

However, it seems a pity to limit the zeal and resources of alumni and parents.

Why not channel these instead? For example, allow these facilities to be built, on the condition that they be shared with less-privileged schools and be open to the public during school holidays and after school hours. This maximises their usage and reduces wastage.

The Singapore Sports Council could be tasked to administer this scheme.

Such a public-private scheme would also benefit the schools, their alumni, the students and their parents, as it would impart the message of social consciousness and giving back to society.

In affluent Singapore, such opportunities to teach our children, especially those from privileged backgrounds, are few and far between. We should seize these opportunities whenever they present themselves.

This is also Singapore's opportunity to chart a more egalitarian course than that already rooted in the West, where the institutions of top exclusive schools are already entrenched.

Josephine Chong Siew Nyuk (Ms)

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